Islamophobia: The Sow’s Leg

Islamophobia often styles itself as a“ defender of Western civilization.” Like all effective lies, there is a certain grain of truth to their assertion. They do not stand in the Western traditions that support reason, liberty and tolerance.

They do, however, recycle themes and motifs that have appeared in previous waves of fear against “witches,” Jews, lepers, Catholics, and others.

Islamophobia continues an intolerance we have seen before.

The 16th century ‘Judensau’ picture for a cover page of a book by Martin Luther mockingly refers to Jewish veneration.

The illustration satirizes Jewish learning as such. It shows a rabbi lifting up the sow’s leg so that his students (wearing the emblems and headgear Jews were commanded to wear in Europe) can suckle from a sow. The idea is that imbibing Jewish religious scholarship is just like suckling on a pig’s teat– a shocking image for both Jew and gentile.

The ‘Judensau’ appears as a relief carving in many German churches and cathedrals from the 13th century on.

Islamophobia continues this intolerance with similar hate-images – with cartoons and pigs – now with another victim of “Western civilization”.

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